Archives For money in the Bible

On the About page, I state that Provident Planning is dedicated to exploring God’s Provident Plan for the personal finances of Christians. But what does that mean? What is God’s Provident Plan? It’s God’s clear Biblical message that through contentment in Christ, diligent work, and good stewardship Christians can prosper so we can give generously in the name of Christ. By following the Provident Plan, Christians can glorify God through their finances.

This message is what I discovered as I have studied personal finance in the Bible. As a Christian and someone who studied financial planning in college, I wanted to know how I could give sound, Biblical advice, but I found so many conflicting opinions that I felt I should find out for myself. After searching for all the Bible verses I could find about personal finance, I began to see God’s wonderful plan for a Christian’s personal finances.

It’s not a plan focused on making Christians rich, or how we can retire early, or the things we can do to make us feel good about ourselves or our money. No – just like every other part of God’s plans for Christians it brings glory to His name and strengthens the witness of Christ in the world. If all Christians followed God’s Provident Plan for their finances, we would radically change the Church and the world. And while it involves how we handle our money – it’s all dependent and focused on the transformation that occurs when we fully give ourselves to Christ and realize the power of His death, resurrection, and the life we have in Him. Let’s take a closer look at each part of God’s Provident Plan.

Contentment in Christ

Once we have decided to follow Jesus, He becomes everything to us. We are in a continual struggle against Satan to keep other things (especially money) from taking the place of Christ. When we find contentment in Christ and Christ alone, the importance of money in our lives diminishes and pales to the value we place on Jesus. We learn the secret to being happy in all situations – whether we’re full or starving, rich or poor, employed or jobless, single or married – nothing in this life matters at all when compared to the glorious gift of Jesus and the fact that no one and no circumstance can take that away from us. We see everything in light of eternity, and we find that nothing on earth is of more value than our faith in Christ. We come to fully believe and trust that God cares for us and will provide everything we need.

Once we have this habit of always finding our contentment in Christ, the Spirit will teach us to place much less importance on material things. We will no longer be focused solely on our own needs and wants – an early retirement, a bigger house, a nicer car, and so on. Instead, we’ll be consumed with a desire to focus on the needs of others – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and show God’s love to the world through our faith and our deeds. We’ll spend less and less on ourselves as we give more and more to others.

You can read more about contentment in the Bible here or by downloading a free copy of Contentment Is Wealth.

Diligent Work

Where contentment helps us to spend less on ourselves, understanding God’s call to work diligently helps us earn more money. As the gap between our spending and our income grows, we are left with more to manage wisely, prosper, and then give generously to the needs of others. The attitude and spirit we have as we approach our work can also glorify and honor God’s name. His witness can be seen in how we deal with people in our businesses and our motivation in our work.

You can read more about hard work in the Bible here.

Good Stewardship

While the Bible says little about financial planning as we know it today, God has shown us the value of using wisdom and prudence in managing our affairs. There are verses that speak to planning ahead, saving, avoiding debt, and other practical matters we will encounter in our personal finances. By wisely managing the blessings God provides (that gap between our income and our spending), we can be good stewards and have even more to give in His name.


As we follow God’s teaching on contentment, diligent work, and good stewardship, He will bless and prosper us. When we think about prosperity our focus needs to be on having God’s view of prosperity and its purpose. Prosperity can come in many other ways than just material blessings, and God wants us to use our prosperity to honor Him – not just make ourselves more comfortable. When God prospers us, it’s so we can further glorify Him as we give more and more to those in need.


Giving is the purpose of God’s Provident Plan. All other aspects of His Provident Plan are a means to this end. Through our contentment in Christ, we spend less so we have more to give. Our hard work provides more income so we will have more to give. Through good stewardship we avoid wasting what God has given us so we will have more to give. Our prosperity comes from God not so we can make ourselves richer but so we can give even more. God’s Provident Plan is completely focused on others – on how we can glorify God by laying down our lives and our wants for the needs of others. We live simply so others can simply live.

At the same time, we’ll realize that God’s Provident Plan gives much to us as well. Peace beyond understanding, joy beyond description, and happiness beyond compare are all ours as we trust ourselves to God’s care. When we first begin following God’s Provident Plan, we hardly realize the potential benefits it will have for our own lives because we were still mired in the views of the world. But as we follow Jesus and see that He is trustworthy and faithful, we become aware of the indestructible treasures in heaven that He has taught us to accumulate.

When we fully grasp God’s Provident Plan, we’ll see that giving in the New Covenant has nothing to do with tithing or percentages. It’s not about requirements, rules, obligations, or blessings or curses. Our giving is to be completely motivated by love – joyous and cheerful as we realize that our sacrifice is not loss but gain in Christ. We give freely, generously, and sacrificially not out of compulsion but out of our joy and contentment in Christ. Such giving is a sign of our total commitment to Christ and His teaching, and it’s a very powerful witness to the world.

Following God’s Provident Plan

Following God’s Provident Plan for our personal finances has huge implications for our lives. It goes against every motive the world gives us for why we should manage our finances well. Instead of focusing on what’s in it for us, we look at what’s in it for God and others. But we know that the rewards God has for us far outweigh the deceitful and false promises of worldly riches. If you feel God calling you to follow His Provident Plan for your finances, please browse around the website and sign up for free updates through email or your favorite feed reader!

       This post is a short summary of the Personal Finance Bible Study on work. It contains links to all of the articles in this study. You can also read Bible verses about work here.

Called to Work

       Made to Work
       Called to Work

       In the first part of this Bible study, we looked at how God has created and called Christians to work hard. We also looked at how our work can glorify God.

The Value of Hard Work

       Providing for Our Needs
       Bringing Honor to God
       Gaining Wealth to Honor God

       Next, we looked at some of the benefits of pursuing God’s call to work hard. There are tangible benefits to hard work, and God desires to bless us with these benefits when we follow His teaching on work.

The Dangers of Too Much Rest and Laziness

       Laziness Brings Poverty
       Laziness Brings Dishonor
       Laziness Brings Difficulty

       Then we looked at the dangers of not following God’s call to work hard and instead pursuing rest, leisure, and laziness. God wants to protect us from these dangers, and that’s part of the reason He calls us to work hard.

Our Need for Rest

       God Wants Us to Rest
       We Need to Rest

       In following God’s call to work hard, we must not forget our need for rest. God wants us to rest because He knows we need it. We will do our best work for Him when we balance diligence and a strong work ethic with the prudence to know when to take our rest.

God’s Business Values and Ethics

       Be Fair & Just to All
       Keep Your Integrity
       Be Mindful of the Poor
       Be a Good Steward
       Don’t Use the Church for Business

       Finally, we looked at God’s business values and ethics as He teaches in the Bible. How should we conduct our business and work so we can best glorify Him? As the Spirit works through us, we will naturally follow God’s will in our work. But identifying these values can help us better serve God as we grow in our walk with Him.

       Thank you for reading this Bible study on work. Feel free to use it in your church or Bible study group. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a comment!

       The final business value we’ll look at in the Bible is God’s desire that we don’t use the Church for business. The Bible relates at least two instances where Jesus spoke out against people who were turning religion into a business and greedily taking profits on the sacrifices and offerings used at the Temple.

       The first instance we see is in the Gospel of John, not long after Jesus was baptized and turned the water into wine:

       14 He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. 15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!”

John 2:14-16 (WEB)

       The rest of the Gospels also relate what seems to be a second incidence where Jesus spoke out against using the Temple for business:

       15 They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. 16 He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. 17 He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!”

Mark 11:15-17 (WEB)

This passage is also found in Matthew 21:12-13 and Luke 19:45-46.

       The religious leaders and merchants had made a business out of selling space in the Temple courtyard, animals for sacrifices, and exchanging foreign money for Jewish money. They desecrated the Temple by using it for business instead of prayer and teaching God’s Word. It’s also thought they were using the Court of the Gentiles for this business, which was the only place the Gentiles were allowed to be in the Temple. A busy marketplace would make it much more difficult to pray to God and learn from a teacher.

       Jesus understood that God’s Temple should be used only for glorifying Him. In their greed, the religious leaders and merchants forgot the purpose of the Temple. The love of money blinded them to the unrighteousness they were committing and replaced the love for God they should have had instead.

       We see this same exploitation of religion in the early church throughout the New Testament, and we still see it today. Many people use faith and godliness as a means to worldly gain, and in their greed they mislead and steal from many. The body of Christ should have His same zeal for God and not allow the Gospel to be used in such a way. If you see this happening in your church, speak out against it and do not fear man. If you are involved in such greedy gain through religion, repent and seek Jesus. Ask Him to pour His Holy Spirit over you and give you a burning love for God instead of love for money.

       Jesus wants us to carefully revere the Lord and be on guard against the dangers that greed presents for our witness to the world. Any exploitation of the Word for profit and dishonest gain has devastating effects on those who do not believe, and it can have even more destructive effects on those who do believe. Greed and love of money destroy the Church and rip the body of Christ into pieces.

       Maintain Jesus’ zeal for God, and do not use the church for business. Don’t turn religion into a business so you can profit off the faith of others. While there is Biblical teaching for supporting those who minister in the Word, there is even stronger teaching against those who use the Word for greedy gain. There’s a distinct difference between a pastor or any church worker who is content in Christ on a salary of $30,000 or $40,000 (or even less!) and one who lives on $100,000 or $200,000 or more. The apostle Paul even went so far as to take no support for his ministry in some cases so he could be a better example to the churches.

       Pray for the Spirit’s discernment and guidance that you do not get involved in such greedy use of the Church. And if you see such greed that needs to be confronted, pray for how you should approach the situation. It may require the zeal that Jesus showed, or it may require a different course of action. Either way, we should be outraged when we see such things happening and we should follow Jesus’ example in purging it from our churches.

       Another way we can honor God through our work is by being good stewards. This applies to our personal finances as well, so we’ll be looking at it in more depth when we talk about stewardship. However, the concept of stewardship has strong implications for our work lives as well – whether self-employed or working for someone else.

Pay Attention!

       Proverbs provides good advice for any person involved in business, but especially those involved in managing or overseeing the operations:

       23 Know well the state of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds: 24 for riches are not forever, nor does even the crown endure to all generations.

Proverbs 27:23-24 (WEB)

       A good manager knows the condition of every aspect of the business he manages. Whether it’s your own business or someone else’s, you should be careful to pay attention to what’s going on. Being a good steward doesn’t mean you do just enough to get by. A good steward looks to maximize whatever has been put under his care – he wants to return it to his superior in a better condition than he found it. Being especially careful with things that belong to others in addition to our own things provides a strong witness that we care about the person those things belong to.

Be Faithful in All Things

       Jesus challenged us to be faithful in all things whether great or small. His teaching can apply to our business lives, our personal lives, and most definitely our spiritual lives.

       10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Luke 16:10-12 (WEB)

       In anything that is assigned to us, we should be honest and faithful regardless of how unimportant it may seem. We build trust with others by first proving ourselves trustworthy with small and seemingly insignificant things. Then we begin to build a stronger relationship and deeper trust as bigger and more important responsibilities are given to us. While those small things do not seem like they matter at first, how we handle them can have huge implications for our future relationships.

       Jesus’ teaching here applies to many different aspects of our lives – not just business – and most specifically it applies to our spiritual lives. Jesus goes on to talk about how we cannot serve both God and money. The way Jesus taught us to handle the money and possessions God has entrusted to us is vastly different from the ways of the world. Jesus teaches us here that if we cannot handle something so unrighteous as money according to His teaching, how can we expect God to give us true riches? We must prove to be faithful in the small things (money) in order to receive the greater things (the true riches of Heaven and eternal life).

       As we continue to examine God’s Provident Plan for our finances, we’ll see that He calls us to approach money and possessions with a mindset the world cannot understand. You see, the financial advice God gives us in the Bible can be applied successfully by anyone. Spend less than you earn, earn more, manage your money well, avoid debt – all of these ideas are good advice for Christians and non-Christians alike. But the results God desires – generous and sacrificial giving – are far different from the worldly views of retiring early, getting the car you’ve always dreamed of, living in a nicer home, traveling the world, or just doing anything you “deserve” because of your hard work and smart decisions. Following God’s plans to achieve His desire requires that you understand His plan and His view of the world and that you have a relationship with His Son, Jesus. You will never understand the idea of following God’s financial principles so you can give generously unless His Spirit lives in you.

       However, the rewards are vastly different as well. Instead of amassing worldly wealth that will pass away and do you absolutely no good when you die, you’ll inherit eternal life and true riches. You’ll take hold of that which is truly life and enjoy God’s creation as He meant you to. You’ll find the contentment in Christ that no one can take away from you. And that’s worth much more than any pile of cash you can put in the bank.

       I’ve gotten away from the main point here, but it’s important to understand what it really means to be a good steward and why we should even worry about how Jesus taught us to handle our finances. God wants us to handle money as if it doesn’t matter. He wants us to use it not to just make ourselves comfortable but to further His Kingdom. And that mindset of living sacrificially will lead us to follow all of His teaching on personal finances naturally. With His Spirit living in us, we will approach our spending and working with His love and understanding. And we’ll glorify Him with all of it.

       Next week we’ll finish up this study on work, and then I’ll put together a summary post for easy reference.

       In the last part of this series on work, we looked at God’s desire for us to treat each other honestly and fairly. But we also find a special emphasis on the fact that we should maintain this honest and fair treatment of others at all times. God provides no exceptions for Christians to be honest and just to anyone. Keeping your honesty and fairness at all times and sticking to a moral code is called integrity. God wants us to keep our integrity at all times, which will further strengthen our witness to the world and the success of our work.

Our Guiding Light

       When we keep our integrity in all situations, we are looking to God for direction. We are seeking out His ways so we can do His will. When we let the Spirit lead us in everything, work or play, we are keeping our integrity – our strict adherence to looking at what the Father is doing and wants us to do. It’s in this way that our integrity will be our guiding light.

       The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them.

Proverbs 11:3 (WEB)

       The Bible tells us that our integrity shall guide us, but the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them. This is a powerful witness to the importance of keeping our integrity at all times. When we allow Satan to twist our thinking and turn our eyes away from God’s ways, we are walking down the path to destruction. And it doesn’t take much. It’s so easy to ruin our reputation, and Satan is glad to find a way to tarnish any witness we might have to the world. That’s why it’s so important to keep our integrity all the time – not just when we think people are looking.

       Many people, thinking no one was looking, have compromised their integrity to benefit themselves – often monetarily. We see this all the time in corporate, political, and even church scandals. But God tells us it’s not worth it. There is no amount of money worth compromising our integrity or risking our good name.

       A good name is more desirable than great riches, and loving favor is better than silver and gold.

Proverbs 22:1 (WEB)

       And again:

       Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in his ways, and he is rich.

Proverbs 28:6 (WEB)

       Though it may seem like maintaining our integrity – even when we don’t think it matters – will do little to benefit us here and now, following God in all things has immense benefits to our spiritual lives and will draw us ever closer to Him. It will also make our witness as Christians even more powerful – not because of the good things we’ve done, but because of the love God has given us and shows through us for all people. This love is shown greatly when we continue to treat everyone honestly and fairly no matter what the situation.

Keeping Your Integrity

       So how do we go about keeping our integrity. What can we do to make sure we don’t fall into Satan’s traps or become disillusioned by the false promises of riches? God gives us practical advice in this area:

       25 Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make the path of your feet level. Let all of your ways be established. 27 Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:25-27 (WEB)

       We need to keep our eyes focused on God. If we look to the side, Satan will rush in with excuses and reasons we should stray just a little this once. “It’s OK to cheat on your taxes…everyone does it, and the government will just waste the money anyway.” “It won’t hurt anyone if you take a little extra. Who will know?” If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and His message, these thoughts will not be able to withstand the power of His love and teaching and we’ll be able to keep our integrity.

       God also tells us to make our path level. We should remove any obstacles, distractions, or temptations that might cause us to stumble as we try to walk in His ways. By doing this, we make it easier to keep our focus on Him alone. He also wants us to “establish” our ways. We need to make a habit of always seeking God’s will – a habit of always taking time to stop and let the Spirit teach us how God wants us to handle the situations we encounter. The simple act of taking some time to pray before acting can save us from so many dangers and sins.

       It’s clear that God wants us to be honest and just. But it’s equally clear that He wants us to be that way all the time. He wants us to keep our integrity – so we’ll become closer to Him, and so we’ll be even greater examples of the power of God’s love in our lives. Take time to consider how you can better keep your integrity and honor God with your life completely.

       After examining the Christian call to work hard, weighing the value of hard work and the dangers of laziness, and looking at our need for rest, I thought it best to look at the values and ethics that should guide us in our work. What are the principles we should follow to best glorify God in our work? In this and the next four parts of this Bible study, we’ll look at God’s business values and ethics.

Be Honest and Fair

       God hates dishonesty or injustice, and if we treat people dishonestly or unjustly we are not reflecting His glory. Though we are no longer under the Law, the Old Testament laws do help us understand some specifics of how we can best serve God.

       13 You shall not have in your bag diverse weights, a great and a small. 14 You shall not have in your house diverse measures, a great and a small. 15 You shall have a perfect and just weight. You shall have a perfect and just measure, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you. 16 For all who do such things, all who do unrighteously, are an abomination to Yahweh your God.

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 (WEB)

       In our business with people – all people, not just other Christians – we are to give them exactly what we say we will and what they’re paying for. While we no longer have weights we carry around to figure out how much we’re selling someone or how much money we’re giving or receiving, the principle still applies. We are not to cheat people in any way. In the same way, we are not to lie to avoid paying what is due or to avoid giving help when someone needs it.

       27 Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it. 28 Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again; tomorrow I will give it to you,” when you have it by you.

Proverbs 3:27-28 (WEB)

       God doesn’t want us to use dishonesty in any way in our business or our lives. He loves to see us treat each other honestly and fairly, for He is truth and cannot stand lies.

       Lying lips are an abomination to Yahweh, but those who do the truth are his delight.

Proverbs 12:22 (WEB)

       One area we might blur the truth a little is when we’re trying to haggle or negotiate a lower price. God has no problem with us trying to pay a little less, but He doesn’t want us using lies to do it.

       “It’s no good, it’s no good,” says the buyer; but when he is gone his way, then he boasts.

Proverbs 20:14 (WEB)

       We shouldn’t lie about the item we’re buying to get a lower price. I’ll be the first to encourage you to get the lowest price you can, but don’t lie to a seller to do it and treat him unfairly. As we’ll see in a bit, we should treat people exactly the way we’d want them to treat us. So when you’re buying, treat the person the way you’d want people buying from you to treat you. And if you’re the seller, treat the buyer like you’d want sellers to treat you.

       No one likes to be ripped off. Part of being fair and honest is to only charge a fair price and to take no more than is actually due. John the Baptist taught this principle to the tax collectors of his day, who were notorious for taking more than they were actually supposed to:

       12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what must we do?” 13 He said to them, “Collect no more than that which is appointed to you.”

Luke 3:12-13 (WEB)

       We shouldn’t charge people more than what’s fair. Part of our Christian witness would be speaking up when this happens as well. If your employer is doing these things, it’s not right for you to do them just because you’re told to or because everyone else is. We are judged not by men, but by God. If we are to work as if we’re working for the Lord, that also means that the actions we take at work should glorify God.

       We must also remember that God wants us to use these business values with all people – not just those we like or agree with.

       For there is no partiality with God.

Romans 2:11 (WEB)

       God has shown no partiality in the gift of His Son. The blood of Jesus is available to all who call upon Him for salvation and redemption from sin. If God has so generously shared Jesus with all people, it is clear that He does not want us to treat anyone with partiality. We should treat all people equally with the same honesty and justice God requires of us.

How to Always Be Fair and Just

       There are many more aspects to being honest, fair, and just than the things that are covered in Scripture. And we might tend to forget them if we try to memorize a bunch of “rules”. But Jesus came preaching a message that fulfilled the Law, and the Holy Spirit teaches us how to glorify God more and more each day. So how can we remember to be fair to everyone and always know that we are being just? Jesus told us how to fulfill the whole law, and in Galatians Paul repeats the part that dictates how we treat other people:

       For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14 (WEB)

       Jesus even explained how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We know this as the “Golden Rule”, and it is the guiding force for all of God’s business values and ethics.

       Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12 (WEB)

This scripture is also found in Luke 6:31.

       By treating people the way we want to be treated, we’re loving them just as we love ourselves. If we follow this principle and let the Spirit guide us, we’ll never be unfair or unjust. We’ll always be honest because we want people to deal with us truthfully. We’ll never rip people off because we’d never want to be ripped off ourselves. And we won’t discriminate in our honesty and fairness because we wouldn’t want to be subject to discrimination either – especially when it comes to truth and justice.

       And the Spirit compels us not only to treat people as we treat ourselves, but to treat them even better than we’d deal with ourselves. Paul explains this to the church at Philippi in this way:

       3 …doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 (WEB)

       Our culture tells us we only need to look out for ourselves – the “every man for himself” idea. But Christians are called to look out for others just as we look out for ourselves. We are to go so far as to count others as better than ourselves. I can assure you that if we truly follow Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s explanation here, we will glorify God in all that we do. All of God’s values and ethics are tied up in the two greatest commandments as Jesus explained. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Everything hangs on these two commandments. We cannot keep them ourselves by our own power, but the Holy Spirit can do it through us and make us a powerful witness to the whole world.

       God wants us to rest not only to remember Him but also because we need to rest. He knows it’s good for our bodies and minds to rest – especially after a period of hard work. God wants us to be ready for His work when the time comes, and that requires regular periods of rest from our work.

In the Image of God

       After creating the universe and all that is within it, God rested from His work:

       2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work which he had created and made.

Genesis 2:2-3 (WEB)

       In light of God’s actions, it makes perfect sense that our bodies and minds require rest after periods of hard work. We are created in the image of God, and we, as Christians, are called to be holy as He is holy. We are to copy what we see God doing. When we rest after working hard, we are not being lazy. We are doing what God created us to do. It is for our own good that God gave us His example of resting and even commanded us to rest.

For Our Own Good

       God wants us to rest so we’ll be refreshed. But He commands us to rest for our own good. He knows that it’s easy for our work to overtake our lives to the point that we neglect Him and our families. His command to rest is an important reminder that we need to rest.

       Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

Exodus 34:21 (WEB)

       I live in a very agricultural area, and I’ve seen firsthand why God added the “in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest” part to His command. When it’s time to plant, farmers have all their regular work to do on top of plowing or getting the fields ready, fertilizing, and planting seeds. And when it’s time to harvest, farmers usually need to harvest the entire crop in a short period of time – again, in addition to their regular work. It’s easy to feel like you’ve got to keep working all the time during planting time and harvest time because there is so much work to do.

       And farmers aren’t the only ones who have busy times like this. We all experience times in our work when there’s more work to be done than the days will allow. But God tells us that it doesn’t matter how much work we have to do, we need to take time to rest – to refresh ourselves and to remember Him. As long as we are fulfilling God’s call to work hard, rest is necessary to ensure that we stay healthy and sane, continue to do a good job, and don’t let our work overshadow God.

Working Too Hard

       It’s very important for us to remember that while God wants us to work hard He also wants us to rest. We can work too hard. When we work so much that we forsake God and believe our success is completely in our hands, we are working too hard. God wants us to maintain a healthy balance between working hard and resting when needed. We sometimes think that if we just work harder we’ll find the success we seek. But God wants to bless us if we’ll just rely on Him. Part of relying on God is doing the hard work He calls us to, but the other part is taking the rest He wants us to.

       It is vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, eating the bread of toil; for he gives sleep to his loved ones.

Psalm 127:2 (WEB)

       When we work hard and rest as God wants us to, God promises to bless us and meet our needs. When we start to doubt God’s promises and begin to work ourselves to exhaustion in an attempt to do it all ourselves, we wear ourselves out for nothing.

Jesus’ Examples

       During His time on Earth, Jesus gave us many examples of our need for rest. When the Twelve disciples returned after Jesus had sent them out to preach, there were so many people coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat. Jesus told them to go away and rest for a while:

       31 He said to them, “You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 They went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

Mark 6:31-32 (WEB)

       The disciples had done the work that Jesus had asked of them, and now He wanted them to rest and refresh themselves. Jesus had more work for the disciples, but He needed them to rest so they could be ready for the work. In our secular work or church work, we must take time to rest. It’s clear that if Jesus told His disciples to take time to rest, He’d want us to do the same.

       Jesus also took time to rest and refresh Himself. Various times during His ministry, Jesus would try to go away to a secluded place to take rest. But because the people heard of His teachings and miracles, He could not escape the crowds. Here’s just one example:

       From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn’t want anyone to know it, but he couldn’t escape notice.

Mark 7:24 (WEB)

       There are several other examples where Jesus tried to get away from the crowds and take time to rest and pray. His example clearly demonstrates that it would be wise for us to do the same. We need to take time away from our work, no matter what it is, to rest and refresh ourselves and to spend time in prayer and reflection.

       We’ve looked at how God has called us to work hard, the value of hard work, the dangers of laziness, and our need for rest. We’re going to finish up this Bible study on work by looking at God’s business values and ethics. What are the principles that should guide our work? The next five parts of this series will look at the answers to that question.